Maserati look to make history as Formula E heads to the home of motorsport in Monaco
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The ABB FIA Formula E World Championship returns this weekend as the world’s premier all-electric racing series kicks off the second half of it season on the streets of Monte Carlo for the 2023 Monaco E-Prix. You can catch the action live from 13:30 BST on Channel 4 this Saturday 6 May.
Ahead of one of the series’ flagship races at the crown jewels of international motorsport, here are all the key talking points:
World Championship battle heating up
The title race is finely poised heading into Monaco with just four points separating Pascal Wehrlein (TAG Heuer Porsche) and Nick Cassidy (Envision Racing) at the top of the table.
Werhlein came flying out of the blocks in Season 9, but his momentum has slowed recently with no double-digit haul since Hyderabad in Round 4, allowing the chasing pack to catch up. Mitch Evans (Jaguar TCS Racing) and Nick Cassidy (Envision Racing) have been particularly quick to capitalise on Werhlein’s recent dip in form to march up the table to second and fifth, respectively.
Two-time Champion, Jean-Eric Vergne, is another who has made progress in recent weeks after a sluggish start to Season 9. The veteran Frenchman now sits in third place and will be looking to add to his P3 last time out in Berlin with more success at his home race in Monaco this weekend.
With eight races complete and eight to go, there are likely plenty of plot twists still to come in the race to be crowned champion as we head into the second half of the season.
Maserati’s return to Monaco
The home of motorsport is also the home for Maserati MSG Racing, with the Monegasque outfit taking over from the now defunct ROKiT Venturi Racing at their headquarters on the Rue de Gabian.
It has been 66 years since Maserati last won on Monegasque shores though, when Juan Manuel Fangio reigned victorious at the 1951 Monaco Grand Prix. Maserati MSG Racing will be hoping to recreate past successes this weekend to add another fond memory at the track to its history books.
Maserati’s historic rivalry with McLaren will also be revitalised on the streets of Monte Carlo on Saturday. The teams haven’t faced each other in Monaco for 56 years, when McLaren pipped Maserati at the 1969 Monaco Grand Prix.
Jaguar find their form
A sluggish start to the season has been forgotten at Jaguar TCS Racing HQ, with the British outfit putting in dominant displays in both São Paulo and Berlin.
New Zealander Mitch Evans secured back-to-back victories in Rounds 6 and 7 to put himself back into title contention. Evans had been one of the early season favourites for the World Championship crown, however got off to a mediocre start in the GEN3 era, failing to register a double-digit haul until victory in Round 6. He now has two wins and a P4 in his last three races to break into the top five.
Meanwhile Evans’ British teammate, Sam Bird, is looking steady in seventh thanks to back-to-back podiums in São Paulo and Berlin.
The pair’s recent successes have lifted Jaguar up to third in the teams’ standings and the Coventry-based manufacturer will be looking to continue the momentum this weekend in Monaco.
Formula E demonstrating unrivalled unpredictability
Formula E’s reputation as the most unpredictable motorsport was strengthened last time out in Berlin with the double-header seeing an astonishing 362 overtakes in total.
The first race of the weekend saw a record-breaking 190 overtakes, 53 lead changes and eight different leaders. The GEN3 era has cemented Formula E’s reputation for unrivalled unpredictability in motorsport and the eventual winner could come from anywhere on the grid this weekend.
Following the record-breaking number of overtakes in Berlin, a new award is going to be given in Formula E. Every race, the driver who achieves the most overtakes will get the ABB Driver of Progress Award.
An overall Season 9 ABB Driver of Progress Award will be given to the driver who has achieved the most overtakes across each of the season’s 16 races.
The home of motorsport goes green for Formula E
The legendary track on the streets of Monte Carlo is rich with motorsport history and welcomes a Formula E race for the fifth time on Saturday.
All five previous winners of the race will line-up again this Saturday, albeit with different teams, with Sebastien Buemi (now of Envision Racing) the only double-winner on the track.
Drivers will pass through the iconic Place du Casino, Mirabeau, Grand Hotel Hairpin and Portier as they take on the 19-turn, 3.337km track.
And with the world’s most sustainable racing car, the GEN3, navigating the tight turns of Monaco for the first ever time on Saturday, a feast of wheel-to-wheel racing is expected.
:: Watch the 2023 Monaco E-Prix live on terrestrial television on Channel 4 at 13:30 BST on Saturday 6 May.
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